Navigating Real Estate Legal Disputes: Answering the Top Five Questions

There are many different real estate legal disputes that can arise during any transaction. Clients and developers may have a disagreement while residential or commercial property is being developed. Landlords and tenants can argue about non-payment of rent or improper maintenance of the property. Neighbors can encroach on their neighbor’s property. These are just a few of the most common types of disputes.

Any real estate dispute can be confusing. They can even be damaging to your business or your property. It is important that you speak to a Texas real estate lawyer who can help you through the complicated process and answer all of your questions. Below, our seasoned attorney answers five of the top questions we hear.

What is Real Estate Litigation Law?

Real estate litigation is an area of law that addresses disputes involving actual property such as homes, commercial properties, buildings, and land in Texas. Real estate litigation law is intended to protect the rights of property owners and anyone who uses the property. Real estate litigation law governs multiple issues ranging from loans, mortgages, and liens to title disputes, real estate contracts, and landlord/tenant law. Real estate litigation law also provides a process for filing a lawsuit when a dispute requires a resolution, such as those that involve easements or boundary lines.

Real estate litigation is sometimes necessary when a property owner believes another party has violated their rights, such as another property owner, a municipality, or an insurance company. When a property owner feels they need to enforce their rights, they can file a lawsuit with the court. Real estate litigation law is a legal area that is extremely complicated and many people do not understand the laws or process to follow. A Texas real estate lawyer can make sure justice is served and that people’s rights are protected.

What are Common Real Estate Disputes?

Some of the most common real estate disputes involve titles and property rights. These disputes commonly arise when two or more parties disagree about the use or ownership of real property. Some of the most common disputes include quiet title actions, boundary line disputes, and landlord/tenant disputes.

Boundary line disputes occur when two or more parties disagree about the exact location of a property line. Quiet title actions occur when a person attempts to establish that they are the undisputed owner of a specific piece of land. Landlord/tenant disputes occur when a tenant and landlord disagree about issues such as possession, rent, or other matters regarding the rental of the property.

Other real estate issues include easement disputes, contract disputes, nuisance claims, and adverse possession claims. Easement disputes arise when two or more parties disagree about the use of property owned by another party, such as access to natural resources such as water and right of way. Contract disputes occur when two or more parties enter into a contract and disagree about the terms of the agreement. Nuisance claims occur when land is used in such a way that causes another person harm or distress. Adverse possession claims occur when someone hopes to gain ownership of land by using it regularly over a certain period of time.

What Steps Should I Take in a Real Estate Lawsuit?

Every real estate lawsuit will differ slightly from others, as the remedies available are unique to the specific disagreement. However, there are some general steps to take during the process. They are as follows:

  • Collect evidence: Before even filing a lawsuit, or responding to one, you should collect as much evidence as possible. Evidence can include contracts, photos, property records, or written correspondence between you and the other party. It can also be helpful to search public records to find important information on the title history of the property. The title history may offer information about liens, ownership, and encumbrances that can help a case.
  • Speak to a real estate litigation lawyer: You have the right to represent yourself during a real estate dispute, but it is not recommended. A real estate lawyer can review the facts of your case and provide sound advice regarding the best way to resolve the disagreement. Real estate lawsuits are very complicated and you will greatly benefit from the help of an experienced attorney.
  • Consider alternative dispute resolution methods: Not all real estate lawsuits end up in the courtroom. Alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation can resolve your disagreement in a faster and more cost-efficient manner.
  • File a lawsuit: A real estate litigation lawyer will know the process of filing your lawsuit with the court and fully outline your complaint as well as the remedy you are seeking.
  • Negotiate: You can negotiate with the other side to reach a settlement agreement at any point during the process. A real estate lawyer will have the necessary experience to negotiate a settlement that is fair.

How Long Does Real Estate Litigation Take?

No one can determine exactly how long your real estate lawsuit will take. The amount of time required depends on the type of dispute, the amount of research involved, and the willingness of all parties to reach an agreement. Still, real estate lawsuits can often take one year or more when they need to be resolved in a courtroom. After reviewing the facts of your case, a lawyer can provide an approximate timeline for your case.

Do You Need a Real Estate Lawyer in Texas?

Again, you are not required to have legal counsel to help with your real estate dispute. However, working with a Texas real estate lawyer will bring you many advantages. Real estate litigation is complicated and one mistake could hurt your case. At Integrity Law Group, PLLC, our experienced attorneys can draft your lawsuit, file it with the appropriate court, meet deadlines, and negotiate on your behalf as your case proceeds. Call us now at (832) 280-9576 or contact us online to request a consultation and to learn more about how we can help resolve your dispute.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Real Estate Transactions in Texas

There are many steps in real estate transactions in Texas. The steps you take will depend on the type of transaction you are entering into. Purchasing and selling homes are some of the most common types of transactions in Texas, and the process of leasing or renting is very similar. Below, one of our Texas real estate attorneys outlines the steps of selling and buying a home and how to get the help you need throughout the transaction.

Contact a Texas Real Estate Lawyer

Selling or buying a home is a complicated process that involves a great deal of negotiation and legal documentation. You are not required to work with a Texas real estate lawyer, but legal assistance will make the process much easier for you. A lawyer can help you navigate the process, draft and review important contracts, prepare and submit all documents, ensure you do not miss deadlines, and protect your best interests at all times throughout the transaction.

Find a Lender and Real Estate Agent

Finding a lender or real estate agent in today’s world has become easier because the Internet has made it so easy to find countless options. However, the sheer number of options you have has also made it more difficult to find the right real estate agent or lender for you. You must compare several lenders and real estate agents. Compare their experience, their rates, fees, or commission, and more. Also remember you do not have to rely on the Internet. You can ask family and friends and use trusted resources, such as Texas Realtors, to find someone you can trust.

List or Find Your Home

Your real estate agent will use resources such as the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and other online platforms to help you find a home or list your current residence for sale. If you are purchasing, your real estate agent will also research the current conditions of the market and location, the neighborhoods you are considering, and any must-haves you would like in the home.

A real estate agent can also help you determine a reasonable price for your home if you are selling. Still, it is important to obtain a recent appraisal so you understand what the property is worth. You may also need additional time to repair or replace certain conditions prior to the sale. You will also have to consider staging your home, and regardless of whether you are buying or selling, you will have to make time for showings.

Sign the Contract and Open Escrow

You will have to consider many options about the contract. These include contingencies, home renovations,  and the overall timeline. It is critical that you consider these factors before signing the final contract. You may also have to negotiate for certain repairs to be made before the move-in date. Negotiations can take time, so you should always make sure you are communicating well with your agent.

If you are purchasing a home, you will also have to open an escrow account. Escrow is an important process, but it is also one that is complex and largely misunderstood. An escrow account assures each party that the sale will go through because the funds are being held safely. Escrow accounts are typically used for good faith money deposits, taxes, and homeowners insurance.

Complete Repairs or Inspections

Home inspections are also an important part of the process for buyers. You should hire an inspector who can analyze all conditions on the property and inform you of any issues they find. If there are issues present, you can negotiate with the seller to make the necessary repairs. Or, you may choose to handle the repairs yourself in exchange for an adjustment in the price.

Meet With the Title Agent

The role of the title agent is often overlooked because they are only a small part of the process. Still, they are also important. Title agents conduct a search on the title of the property. There are many encumbrances that can be on a property, including utilities, unpaid taxes, and other fees and liens. The title agent will find any of these issues and make sure no stone is left unturned. After determining that the property is free of these encumbrances, they will issue a title commitment that ensures the home is marketable and that it can be protected by title insurance.

Submit Necessary Paperwork

You will have to review a lot of paperwork and send information to your real estate agent, as well as the lender and title company. To avoid unnecessary delays, you should respond promptly to these requests.

Deposit Closing Funds

The title agent or company will also provide the closing disclosure, which outlines all of the closing costs. This can be a confusing part of the process, so make sure to speak to your real estate agent or lawyer about this documentation. After reviewing the disclosure, you should wire the funds to the title company before closing.

Review and Sign Closing Paperwork

After the title work is complete and the lender has approved the deal to close, you will meet with a closing agent from the title company. There is a lot of paperwork to review and sign, so it is important to remain patient and not rush through the process.

Receive Your Keys or Funds

After all of the paperwork has been signed and you have done your due diligence, the keys are yours, and it is time to move into your new home. If you have sold your home, you can receive your funds and take the next necessary steps.

Call Our Real Estate Lawyers in Texas Today

The real estate process can become complex, and every step within it is important. At Integrity Law Group, our Texas real estate lawyers can provide the legal advice you need and make sure the process is as smooth as possible for you. Call us now at (832) 521-4201 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help with your case.

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